Submitted to: Journal of Applied Polymer Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/27/2004
Publication Date: 8/15/2005
Citation: Barone, J.R., Schmidt, W.F., Liebner, C.F. 2005. Thermally processed keratin films. Journal of Applied Polymer Science. 97(4):1644-1651. Interpretive Summary: There is a large focus in materials research to make materials from sustainable resources. This paper describes how keratin derived from poultry feather biomass can be made into useable polymeric material. The material could have use as a tough coating or for biomaterials applications because it is protein.
Technical Abstract: Keratin obtained from chicken feathers is modified with glycerol, which acts as a plasticizer. Films are prepared by pressing the modified keratin at temperatures concurrent with typical polymer processing temperatures. The films are completely cohesive as opposed to partially cohesive if pressed under the same conditions without glycerol. The films are "tough," and the mechanical properties show similarities to the properties of commercially available commodity thermoplastics. The keratin films are produced in a few minutes without reducing or oxidizing agents. In contrast, traditional keratin processing with reducing or oxidizing agents requires laborious, time-consuming techniques. The keratin films could be used for food packaging, environmentally-friendly materials, or for use as biomaterials, i.e., for implantation or for cell culturing.